The Benefits of Being an Octopus

An Official Title!

Coming up with the right title for a novel is always a process. I had the working title I used when writing it, but I knew that wouldn’t be the final version. A year ago, I bounced ideas off my critique partners, but none of them felt quite right. Over the past month, my editor… Read more »

Friendships that Span Political Boundaries

In the The Benefits of Being an Octopus I explore how difficult — yet how necessary — it is to develop friendships cross barriers. This TED Talk by Caitlin Quattromani and Lauran Arledge centers on a great examples of two friends who were able to maintain their relationship in a true and honest way, despite their… Read more »

I was born in poverty in Appalachia. ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ doesn’t speak for me. – The Washington Post

It is important to understand how hard people in poverty are often working. The reality came through loud and clear when I did research for The Benefits of Being an Octopus, and I am glad Betsy Rader is speaking up about her own experiences in her Washington Post Opinion piece: “I was born in poverty in… Read more »

It is official!

In just over a year from now, The Benefits of Being an Octopus (previously titled Zoey and the Screaming Monkeys) will be an actual book. Actual readers will be able to read it. This is serious.        

Podcast: Making Room for Civil Discourse

The cultural divide that exists in The Benefits of Being an Octopus is not one that’s easy to cross, but it is possible. Recently, I had a great conversation with Chris Lenois at WKVT Radio’s Green Mountain Mornings about the work that’s needed for civil discourse and my visit to Rutland High School to find common ground… Read more »

Using First Person Accounts to Understand the Realities of the Working Poor

I have long been a believer in the power of first person accounts. My Masters-in-Teaching thesis began by focusing on all the problems of history textbooks and then morphed into a 200-page alternative U.S. History textbook that relied entirely on first person accounts. Not only do first person accounts put regular people smack dab in… Read more »

Find the Octopus

In The Benefits of Being an Octopus, Zoey is obsessed with octopus. To her, one of its most enviable superpower is its ability to camouflage itself. You want to see what she means? Check out the octopus in this video. (And yes, the octopus is right there even at the beginning. See if you can… Read more »